What we learned this week: Freedom can help top half push, an unbreakable partnership and Ferguson not afraid to bend his principles

Another week, another postponed fixture, another game added to an already congested end-of-season calendar.

Thursday, 5th April 2018, 9:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th April 2018, 9:31 pm
Tommy Rowe took his tally to nine for the season by scoring twice in the win at Blackpool.

But also another win and another three points to push Rovers back towards the top half of League One.

Here are the notable points from the last seven days at the club.

a welcome

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Two goals – and two good ones at that – from Tommy Rowe helped Rovers to victory at Blackpool on Friday.

And it was a demonstration of how vital a player for Rovers Rowe could be.

I say ‘could’ simply because I still believe we have yet to see the best of the talented midfielder on a regular basis.

He is undoubtedly one of the best creative and technically-gifted players at the club because there often seems to be something missing from his performances that prevents him from dominating games.

Perhaps it is the fact James Coppinger maintains incredible consistency which has seen him put the strangehold on the advanced midfield position which would suit Rowe.

Saying all this, the 28-year-old remains a major player for the club, as his two goal haul demonstrated.

it’s nice to see a cheeky goal

How good was the free kick routine that won Rovers the game at Blackpool?

The result of training ground creativity by assistant boss Gavin Strachan, the move caused major confusion for the Blackpool defence and goalkeeper.

And it brought plenty of smiles and repeated viewing of the footage.

It was a piece of creativity in freedom that we will hopefully see more of over the next few weeks.

the shackles seem to be off

Rowe’s free kick typified this – Rovers look to be a lot more free of worry than they were a few weeks ago.

There was no panic against Blackpool, even after they were pegged back.

Granted, the start to the second half was poor but as soon as they conceded, they switched back on.

Rovers maintained patience throughout a first half in which they controlled possession but struggled to break down a Blackpool side who packed the midfield.

And there was no sign of any nerves after they went back in front.

Rovers are all-but safe now and it shows.

The pressure has been lifted and they can play at the levels of confidence and composure they are truly capable of.

It should be a satisfying end to the campaign.

unbreakable partnership

Just how do you break up the centre half pairing of Joe Wright and Mathieu Baudry?

The pair have been excellent since injuries threw them together.

Wright has reached the levels he managed earlier in the season and was excellent against Blackpool last weekend.

And Baudry deserves special praise for performing superbly on the left side of the pairing – a position he himself admits he does not favour.

The form of the duo has had the welcome knock-on effect of reducing the pressure on Andy Butler to return.

The club captain can ease back into action after his knee ligament injury.

But when Butler is up to speed, how does Darren Ferguson squeeze him back in?

evolution does not stop

And that is the evolution of ideas – namely those of boss Ferguson.

Tom Anderson does not seem the archetypal Ferguson player given his no-nonsense, old-school approach to defending.

But Anderson’s contribution after joining on loan from Burnley was important in pushing Rovers towards a comfortable finish.

And they showed the value of having a player in this division who can throw his body in front of things and clear the ball away from danger.

So it is welcome to hear Ferguson is keen to land Anderson on a permanent basis.

Not only could Rovers secure an important addition as they look to kick on next season, but it suggests Ferguson is not afraid to bend his principles based on the experiences of a campaign.